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Thread: A primer on Home Delivery Services for furniture

  1. #1
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    Default A primer on Home Delivery Services for furniture

    Here's a link I found that's pretty informative on outlining the home delivery process and the steps that are taken. This policy is Alpha Omega's (a sister company to West Express) but most all "White Glove" delivery services operate just like this. Worth a read if ordering from a distance.

    http://www.alphaomegahomedelivery.com/policy.htm

    Pay attention to items in bold type! They do not deviate from these policies....
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  2. #2
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    Default Re: A primer on Home Delivery Services for furniture

    To add to this post, I want to explain a few things further about delivery services. First off, i will say NONE of them operate the way I would run them if they were my businesses. That means what I try to do in selecting a delivery service is choose the one that has the least amount of aggravation for my customers. I used to use Home Delivery Service but they became so bad on service that I had to switch. They were disagreeable on the phone, slow, and acted like they could care less on most deliveries. Now I use West Express for most, and they hand off everything to Alpha Omega for anything East of the Mississippi. They're much more responsive, but certainly not perfect. I am also using Sun Delivery as they seem to be very quick to the midwest, etc.

    First thing to know is that YOU have a right to use any service that you like. You tell your dealer who you want for a carrier (they're all about the same price). In most cases, you will be paying them directly as well - and the business relationship is between you and the delivery service on all aspects of transport. Not the store you bought it from. Most people get on the phone to their selling dealer when they have an issue, but they should be calling the delivery company directly. All the dealer can do is make a call on your behalf and perhaps some sabre-rattling if needed.

    The number one rule in any freight of fine goods:

    MINIMIZE HANDLING & TIME IN TRANSIT

    The more things are moved around, the more they get damaged. That's not a suggestion, that's a given fact in this industry. Sometimes a delivery is not convenient for the customer and they re-schedule. MISTAKE. Unless you just got hit by a truck, then you need to accommodate the delivery of your furniture that you have already paid for. If it comes in at 3 a.m. so be it. Take delivery. If you can't be home, have a neighbor take it for you or have it put in your garage. Do not send it back on the truck for a later delivery or have them warehouse hold it. The possibility of cosmetic damages goes up considerably the more its moved and the longer they have it.

    As an example, I bought a new car out of Florida two months ago. The trucker was supposed to have it to my house in Virginia at 5 p.m. Saturday evening. Well, he got held up by weather and accidents on I-95 and before you know it, he said it was going to be 2 a.m. Sunday morning before he was in my area. Did I want to meet him and take delivery or if I preferred he could drop it off on the way back four days later. Took me all of 5 seconds to make that decision. DO NOT keep my new car on the transporter, I want it no matter what time you are coming through, and I did meet him at 2 a.m in a shopping center parking lot. Get it off the truck! Same holds true for your furniture.

    Egress into your home is another problem area. A lot of homes have difficult egress. Ideally there should be 3" on all sides for the delivery personnel when they bring your pieces into the home. In many cases its fractions of an inch. With leather in particular, it can mar when friction rubbed during delivery. The bigger and heavier the piece, the harder it might be to get it into your home. If you see this is going to be an issue, take some thick blankets and tape them to your door jambs or wall corners. The Delivery people won't bother to do this, but by being pro-active on your part you may be able to prevent some scuffs. In my own local delivery truck, we carry a specialized door jamb quilt for just that purpose, but most delivery service don't buy or use them.

    Remember, you can use any delivery company you wish to specify. Its your money, your furniture and you're paying for it!
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  3. #3
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    Default Re: A primer on Home Delivery Services for furniture

    Another entry to this topic.....

    The vast majority of 'white glove' delivery service companies will bring your pieces to you blanket-wrapped. They will not be in the original manufacturer's cartons. The reason being they simply occupy too much cube in the trucks when left in the box. So they take them out, in order to get more pieces on the truck. Sun Delivery will not leave items in the boxes at all. West Express/Alpha Omega can do so - for an additional fee - but only on the East Coast and some midwest locales, from Texas and points west they cannot sacrifice the cube.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  4. #4
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    Default Re: A primer on Home Delivery Services for furniture

    Great information, thanks. I found great movers by going to U-Ship. They were fantastic. Called me when they arrived in New Jersey to pick up the chairs to tell me that the chairs were in fine condition, except that one of the seat cushions had a tiny, seriously invisible water stain and did I still want them to pick up and deliver? I said yes, I still want the chairs. They wrapped them in blankets, put them on the truck, and had them in my house in Massachusetts 3 days later. A small family transport business.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: A primer on Home Delivery Services for furniture

    I would also like to recommend U ship. I do NOT work for them! They shipped some furniture for me from Oklahoma City to Kingston Ontario. They were FANTASTIC to work with. I needed them to drop off a container and they helped me load it. There was an extra fee for that but, it was pretty low. They moved it in a day and a half! I wasn't expecting them to be point to point so quickly and they called me, I was still in OKC! So they stored it for me at their warehouse in Kingston till I got home, no charge. Honestly, they were really, really good to work with. Everything got to me in perfect shape too. I know it says "U ship" but, they have other options as add ons. Went across the border like a charm with a truck load, insured. I would use them again. Check out their BBB rating. I hate moving companies usually and a LOT of them have bad, bad reviews. Not this one.

    Also, if you don't need a whole truck or are only moving one item they will give you the option to load your item on with another shipment for a lot less. You might wait more than a day and half for it but, it's cost wise very reasonable.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: A primer on Home Delivery Services for furniture

    I am making a CORRECTION here. I used U PACK with the added packing service. They are head quartered in Fort Smith Arkansas and are a family company. My father lives there and recommended to me on the above move. THEY are the ones who were so helpful and were absolutely perfect. Again, you do not have to load yourself but, have that option. They had my items to me in less than a day and a half, perfectly packed up and then helped us load to our storage unit. I was VERY pleased with them. U PACK with add on options. NOT U Ship!! I have never used U Ship and likely wouldn't as my experience above with U Pack was stellar.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: A primer on Home Delivery Services for furniture

    I recently purchased a commercial grade treadmill (remanufactured).... I like good quality commercial equipment because it's exponentially better than the home stuff, much more durable, and more comfortable to use, and I like "remanufactured" because it's usually at least half off the price of "new" with most of the high-use parts replaced. Noting, however, that the treadmill was large and weighed 500 pounds, and having informed the vendor up front that it would be going down a flight of stairs and would have to be turned to fit, I bit the bullet and paid a hefty premium for "two man, white glove" inside delivery (the fee included "up to two stairways").

    The delivery company sent one guy with a heavy duty hand truck. Not happening. The first notice he had that this was supposed to be a two-man inside delivery was when he arrived at my house and I told him. He told me that the same thing had happened earlier that day, but that he had managed to pull off the delivery himself. He called for another guy... they decided they couldn't complete the delivery. The transportation company had mishandled the treadmill, causing some damage and literally breaking the pallet in half. (Another benefit of commercial units - a home unit would have been ruined; the Precor remained solid.) They literally expressed disappointment that they wouldn't be able to drag the pallet across the floor then slide it down the stairs. They offered to put the treadmill in the garage and let the shipper (the store I purchased it from) deal with it, but I declined. I didn't pay the extra $$$ to truck the thing down a flight of stairs by myself.

    They redelivered a few days later, sending out two (different) guys, each of whom had a heavy duty hand truck. No straps, no pads, no floor coverings, nothing. I'll moderate that - the hand truck had a single strap that could be used to secure the item being delivered, but talk about inadequate. I ended up scrounging my own protective floor coverings and assisting with the delivery myself, and the unit was successfully moved into the basement. The hand truck left some black wheel marks on the stairs - not surprising given the weight and they can be cleaned off, but again, white glove inside delivery? Hardly.

    So... I can see why Duane is so selective with his delivery companies.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: A primer on Home Delivery Services for furniture

    HA! Typical of so many delivery companies.....

    I often get priced shopped on distance sales and invariably get dinged by customers when I quote the Sun Delivery prices because they are higher than many other companies. But they are # 1 in the industry in the white glove delivery service. This doesn't mean they are perfect - but they are tops in their field and charge accordingly. Folks can always choose their delivery service, and I can give names of less costly carriers. But there is a reason they're less costly, too!

    I would never take a hand truck into a customer's home, that's just nuts. Unprofessional. I have specialty body straps for my local delivery team and we can handle up to 400 lb with two guys (controlled) using the forearm straps with relative ease. Goofy video on this site, but they work:

    http://www.forearmforklift.com/

    Sounds like you had the Knucklehead Delivery Service, Aaron.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  9. #9
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    Default Re: A primer on Home Delivery Services for furniture

    When you're doing large leather pieces long distance, I think its best to not demand it all arrive perfectly - there may be some minor markings on the piece on the legs or the leather itself that can usually be touched up. I'd say 10 % of all ships I do have a small mark on them somewhere and that may be your trade-off for buying long-distance vs locally. Case in point...

    I recently had a customer who ordered a heavy dual recliner sofa that had to make a 1,000 mile trip to get to him. It arrived with a minor mark on the leather and he refused it because it wasn't perfect. It went back to Sun Delivery for touch-up, another 1,000 miles each way and he was agitated because it takes about 3 to 4 weeks to get a round trip on it, and made his displeasure known in various emails, demanding phone calls and the like. When it came back to him the second time, he had a confrontation with the delivery driver and it had even more marks on it this time, and all the handling of all the trips had caused a sag in the middle. He refused it a second time and it got so nasty in communications that I simply refunded his money rather than deal with someone who is angry. When the piece got back to the maker they called me and told me 'its bit of a mess' but they were able to restore it to new condition easily and it will come to my store as stock. This all could have been avoided had he accepted the piece with the small mark on it and I has sent him a small bottle of touch-up that he could apply to the leather.

    Point being - use good judgement when refusing a piece. Obviously you must refuse heavy damage like ripped covers or broken parts, but I would suggest not doing so for small, minor rub marks. You know who you are. If you are a perfectionist that has no tolerance for things out of order, then you will be far better off buying locally from your area dealer where there is less handling and less chance occurrence. Pay a little more and you will be happier in the long run!
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  10. #10

    Default Re: A primer on Home Delivery Services for furniture

    I've never seen this question asked and I may be an odd bird for asking it--- but will a manufacturer let a customer pick up their own furniture? I realize this is not feasible for the vast majority of customers but in my case it could be. I live within easy driving distance to NC factories and because of my job, I have access to large trucks and very capable fine art handlers who would gladly pick up my new furniture and treat it like a million dollar sculpture. I know retailers sometimes pick up directly. Can I send my own guys? That would at least take the shipping damage risk off the table.

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